WHAT IS CO-MORBIDITY?
It is the presence of coexisting or additional diseases with reference to an initial diagnosis. It describes the effect of all other diseases an individual patient might have other than the primary disease of interest.
The term “co-morbidity” has been used to describe the overlap of illnesses which tend to occur together. “Co” means together or jointly. “Morbidity” refers to disease. Co-morbidity simply means diseases which occur simultaneously.
According to (1986), “co-morbidity by linking all the various syndromes to a common causal factor – toxicity within the body. As the body seeks to eliminate toxins, the internal pollution affects various organs producing a variety of symptoms diagnosed as separate illnesses.” Harris, M., (2001). Writing labs and the Hollywood connection.
However, co-morbidity was also defined as two or more medical conditions that occur at the same time. From a psychiatric point of view, co-morbidity are also called dual diagnosis since the existence of a psychiatric order such as depression, anxiety and psychotic condition with a chemical dependence disorder, such as chronic alcohol, cannabis, cocaine dependence, etc. goes together. It implies that the illnesses a person may get or feeling are equal though it is not. For instance, one illness can be easily treated while the other one is more severe or even fatal, and one may be mutable. . It also defines each of these disorders as caused by another medical condition which would include the chemical dependencies. This sets the stage for the whole issue of co-morbidity. Unfortunately, alcohol misuse has become a growing problem to all the people who are having co-morbidities. According to the surveys it suggests that the misuse of alcohol or other drugs is a common cause of physical and mental health problems of the people. The alcohol abuse has clear and profound effects on the health and well-being of the people in all aspects of life. Many different organ systems can be damaged by misuse. It has negative effects on self-esteem, coping skills, and interpersonal relationships, which can add to other losses that are common in the stages of life. Also, alcohol and substance when misuse can cause serious illness, worsen other medical conditions, interfere with needed medications, and greatly decrease overall quality of life. Like alcohol, the substance particularly drugs when misuse can bring havoc to one’s life. The problem of misusing the drug substances is seen in people at different ages, genders, races and nationality. The inappropriate use of prescription or over-the-counter medications are examples of misused drugs It include sedatives, hypnotics, pain relievers, diet aids, decongestants, and a wide variety of over-the-counter medications. The medical problems from misuse also include mental changes, kidney disease, liver disease, injuries from falls and worst, leads to co-morbidity. (2006). Substance Abuse.
Since the co-morbidity has gained its popularity in mental health professionals there is a gradual decline of their role in the field of chemical dependency that connects to non-psychiatric interventions for treating the chemically dependent person. Co-morbidity must be scientifically approached with an open awareness that the co-morbid condition can be induced by drugs, alcohol and genes. Once a mental health professional found out that the patient is having a dual diagnosis for instance, that particular patient will be treated first with what is the more serious illness he had. Consequently, co-morbidity conditions are treated simultaneously but not equally. People who are experiencing the psychiatric disorder were treated and follow-up care is recommended, but nothing other than detoxification for the alcohol abuse. There was no consideration given to the possibility of alcohol dependence or the need for abstinence. There was also no consideration that alcohol might be inducing or worsening the mental disorder. The research indicates that between the half of 100 percent of bipolar patients are addicted to alcohol or drugs. And the other half percentage of patients with anxiety disorders who have co-morbid alcohol syndromes, and 50-90 percent of schizophrenics have a substance-related disorder. Co-morbidity indicates that there is no induction of one illness by another. The studies show that the use of alcohol or drugs in this case may significantly worsen the mental disorder. It does not require an extended period of abstinence or the development of a recovery program to determine if actual co-morbidity exists over time. According to (1998), “the solution to the issue of co-morbidity involves taking both forks in the road and treating each condition simultaneously, but with the awareness that the psychiatric condition may disappear if it has been induced by drugs or alcohol. If the psychiatric condition and chemical dependency are truly co-morbid and equal, they will be treated simultaneously, with abstinence from drugs and alcohol, a recovery program and appropriate mental health interventions”.
Thus, it is very essential to consider co-morbidity illnesses determine that one illness is not induced or taken by the other. This can be recognized by talking or interacting to the person involved with collateral evidence, such as family members, to know whether the psychiatric illness occurred after the use of drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, if drugs or alcohol have induced the psychiatric disorder, then the course of psychiatric treatment should be directed toward an appropriate recovery program and abstinence before assuming the primacy of the mental disorder. It is also very important to monitor the use of alcohol and drugs in the person who are being treated for psychiatric conditions, knowing that substance abuse may induce relapses or worsen the mental disorder, especially those of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Otherwise, if the alcohol use is not controlled, the person involved will relapse frequently, have increasing symptoms and require expensive hospitalization. These primary psychiatric patients can be directed to abstinence-based recovery programs that are able to accept symptoms of mental disorders. Co-morbidity. Alternate Methods Of Treatment.